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Petar Zrinski
Ban (viceroy) of Croatia
Petar Zrinski (1621-1671)
Reign 24 January 1665 - 29 March 1670
Croatian Petar IV. Zrinski, hrvatski ban
Born June 6, 1621(1621-06-06)
Vrbovec, Croatia
Died April 30, 1671 (aged 49)
Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Predecessor Nikola VII Zrinski
Successor Nikola Erdödy
Consort Katarina Zrinska
Offspring Jelena Zrinska, Ivan Antun Zrinski,
Judita Petronila, Zora Veronika
Royal House House of Zrinski
Father Juraj V Zrinski, Ban (viceroy) of Croatia
Mother Magdalena Zrinski née Széchy

Petar Zrinski (Hungarian: Zrínyi Péter; 6 June 1621 – 30 April 1671), was a Croatian Ban (Viceroy) and writer. A member of the Zrinski noble family, he was noted for his role in the attempted Croatian-Hungarian rebellion of 1664-1670 which ultimately led to his execution for treason.


Zrinski family

Petar Zrinski was born in Vrbovec, a small town near Zagreb, the son of Juraj V Zrinski and Magdalena Szechy. His father and great-grandfather (Nikola Šubić Zrinski) had been viceroys (Ban) of Croatia, which was a nominal Kingdom in personal union with Hungarian Kingdom at the time.

His family had possessed large estates throughout all of Croatia and had family ties with the second largest Croatian landowners, the Frankopan family. He married Anna Katarina, the half-sister of Fran Krsto Frankopan, and they lived in the large Čakovec Castle in Medjimurje, northernmost county of Croatia.

Zrinski-Frankopan plot

After the unpopular Peace of Vasvár (1664) between Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and the Ottoman Empire, Hungarian and Croatian nobility were disappointed by the failure to remove the Ottomans completely from Hungarian territory and embarked on a conspiracy to remove foreign influence, including Habsburg rule, from the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen.

Petar Zrinski was involved in the poorly organized rebellion together with his older brother Nikola Zrinski and his brother-in-law Fran Krsto Frankopan and Hungarian noblemen. In the preparations of the plot, plans were disrupted by the death of Nikola Zrinski in the woods near Čakovec by a wounded wild boar — later rumours claimed he was murdered by Habsburg agents, however, this claim could never be substantiated. Petar succeeded his brother as Ban (Viceroy) of Croatia.

The conspirators, who hoped to gain foreign aid in their attempts, entered into secret negotiations with a number of nations — including France, Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Republic of Venice, even the Ottomans; nevertheless, no state wanted to intervene – in fact, the High Porte informed Leopold of the conspiracy in 1666[1]. The Austrians also had informants inside the group of nobles. However, no action was taken, because the conspirators had made little traction and were bound by inaction.

Final revolt and suppression

Zrinski and Frankopan, unaware of their detection, nevertheless continued planning the plot. When they tried to trigger a revolt by taking command of the Croatian troops, they were quickly repulsed, and the revolt collapsed. Finding themselves in a desperate position, they finally went to Vienna to ask emperor Leopold I of the Habsburg dynasty for pardon. They were offered safe conduct but were arrested. A tribunal chaired by chancellor Johann Paul Hocher sentenced them to death for high treason on 23 and 25 April 1671. [2]

Execution of Zrinski and Frankopan in Wiener Neustadt on 30 April 1671

For Petar Zrinski the verdict was read that

he committed the greater sin than the others in aspiring to obtain the same station as his Majesty, that is, to be an independent Croatian ruler, and therefore he indeed deserves to be crowned not with a crown, but with a bloody sword. [3]

Zrinski and Frankopan were executed by beheading on 30 April 1671 in Wiener Neustadt. Their estates were confiscated and their families relocated — Zrinski's wife, Katarina Zrinska, was interned in the Dominican convent in Graz where she fell mentally ill and remained until her death in 1673, two of his daughters died in a monastery, and his son Ivan Antun (John Anthony) died in madness, after twenty years of terrible imprisonment and torture, on 11 November 1703. The oldest daughter Jelena, already married in northeastern Upper Hungary, survived and continued the resistance.

Some 2,000 other nobles were arrested as part of a mass crackdown. Two more leading conspirators — Ferenc Nádasdy, Chief Justice of Hungary, and Styrian governor, Count Hans Erasmus von Tattenbach — were executed (the latter in Graz on 1 December 1671).[4]

In the view of Emperor Leopold, the Croats and Hungarians had forfeited their right to self-administration through their role in the attempted rebellion. Leopold suspended the constitution - already, the Zrinski trial had been conducted by an Austrian, not a Hungarian court - and ruled Hungary like a conquered province.[5]


Petar Zrinski and Fran Krsto Frankopan (painting)

The bones of Zrinski and Frankopan were found in Austria in 1907 and brought to Zagreb in 1919, where they were reburied in the Zagreb Cathedral. [6]

Zrinski and Frankopan are still widely regarded as national heroes in Croatia as well as Hungary. Their portraits are depicted on the obverse of the Croatian 5 kuna banknote, issued in 1993 and 2001.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Other sources attribute this information to a translator at the Ottoman Court who was paid by Austrian intelligence.
  2. ^ Paul Lendvai, Ann Major: The Hungarians: a thousand years of victory in defeat. Princeton University Press, 2003. ISBN 06911196942003 (p.143)
  3. ^ "... die größten Sünden begangen habe, in seinen Bestrebungen sich zu einem unabhängigen Kroatischen Herrscher krönen lassen zu wollen. Statt einer Krone erwarte ihn ein blutiges Schwert."
  4. ^ Stephan Vajda, Felix Austria. Vienna, 1988. p.302
  5. ^ ibid, p.136
  6. ^ Stadtmuseum Wiener Neustadt
  7. ^ Croatian National Bank. Features of Kuna Banknotes: 5 kuna (1993 issue) & 5 kuna (2001 issue). – Retrieved on 30 March 2009.
Preceded by
Nikola Zrinski
Ban of Croatia
Succeeded by
Nikola Erdödy


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